Palestinian terrorists operating out of the Gaza Strip early Thursday morning killed an Israeli soldier and seriously wounded another when they blew up an Israeli patrol jeep along the security fence that separates the volatile Hamas-run coastal territory from southern Israel.
Two other soldiers were lightly wounded in the blast.
The bomb used against the jeep was concealed along the border fence and remotely detonated from inside Palestinian-controlled territory. The Islamic Jihad terrorist organization claimed credit for the attack, and Hamas officials said their group also participated.
Israeli forces left Gaza on Monday after a bruising five-day incursion against the terrorist infrastructure embedded there, but Jerusalem warned that the army would quickly be sent back into Gaza if the Palestinians continue launching attacks on southern Israel.
In addition to the border bombing, a barrage of Palestinian rockets and mortar shells launched against southern Israel communities on Thursday indicated the warning is not being heeded. There were no injuries reported as five rockets and numerous mortars slammed into open areas outside Israeli towns and villages.
Additional violence flared up around mid-morning in the vicinity of the Kissufim Crossing in central Gaza, when Palestinian gunmen opened fire on an IDF patrol on the Israeli side of the fence there. A small Israeli force entered Gaza to search for the assailants, and engaged them in a fierce gun battle. The Israeli troops were covered by helicopter gun ships, which Hamas later claimed to have fired anti-aircraft missiles at.
The terms of the Palestinian Arabs' peace agreements with Israel forbid them to acquire and employ anti-aircraft missiles and other heavy weaponry that could be used by terrorists to inflict heavy losses on Israel.